update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu: Put differences aside until victory over Hamas

The comments came after a Security Cabinet meeting in which several ministers reportedly had it out with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Dec. 31, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Dec. 31, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night urged the country and its political establishment to put all differences aside in order to achieve total victory against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Three months ago, Hamas committed a terrible massacre against us. My government directed the IDF to go to war to eliminate Hamas, return our hostages and ensure that Gaza will never again be a threat to Israel,” said the premier.

“The war must not be stopped until we achieve all of the goals. We will not give Hamas any immunity whatsoever, and we will fight until we restore security in both the south and the north.

“Until then, and to that end, everything must be put aside and we must continue with united forces until absolute victory is achieved,” added Netanyahu.

The latter comments were an apparent reference to Thursday’s Security Cabinet meeting, during which several ministers reportedly had it out with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

Hebrew-language reports said Netanyahu ended the meeting after three hours amid a shouting match over the progress in the war.

A day later, War Cabinet minister Benny Gantz said that Netanyahu needed to choose unity, accusing the premier of coordinating a “politically motivated” attack on the IDF chief.

The development came after Halevi announced his intention to form a committee to investigate the failures leading up to and during Hamas’s massacre of 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7.

Some ministers were particularly incensed with Halevi’s reported decision to appoint former chief of staff and defense minister Shaul Mofaz to the panel, due to his role in the 2005 disengagement from Gaza.

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